Shabbat Shalom! Tisha B’Av, the 9th day of Av, commemorates the destruction of the Temple and is a day of mourning. This year, Tisha B’Av begins the evening of Aug 10. For many people it’s a fasting day.
In the nine days prior to Tisha B’Av, people do not eat meat. Lentils, eggs and other round foods, which symbolize the cycle of life, are traditionally eaten for the meal before the fast. Meat and wine are also not consumed for the meal that ends the fast.
In keeping with Tisha B’Av, the recipes for the Shabbat Table column this week are vegetarian. I asked my friend Lynda Batist Friedman for a vegetarian recipe because she often serves meatless meals for Shabbat. She’s a creative cook and has experimented with all kinds of foods. She sent me the recipe for Stuck-Pot Rice with Lentils and Yogurt. “This is a recipe that I found, by Smitten Kitchen, from Feb. 20, 2014,” Batist Friedman wrote. “I made some personal modifications. I use kefir instead of yogurt and I added a bay leaf.”
This recipe is very easy to prepare and incredibly delicious. My rice did not not stick to the pot, but that did not affect the taste. Batist Friedman uses small black French lentils, while I used green lentils. I also made another modification by doubling the amount of lemon juice.
The Ayurvedic Kichadi recipe comes from the book, The Living Kitchen, by Tamara Green and Sarah Grossman. Kichadi is a flavourful Indian stew that is filling and soothing and it is often consumed as a restorative meal following illness.
I created the third recipe, Baked Spinach-Cauliflower Frittata, which was inspired by Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa. I’m a fan and I watch her TV show regularly. I’ve seen her make her Baked Zucchini Frittata Squares a number of times. I have improvised her recipe with several substitutions. Garten is known for her liberal use of butter and cream, while I have avoided both of these ingredients. I also substituted cauliflower and spinach for the zucchini, and I have used goat cheese instead of Parmesan.
1 cup lentils washed and picked over
1½ cups basmati rice, rinsed well
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup yogurt or kefir
2 tbsp lemon juice, plus additional wedges for serving
1/3 cup water
2 tsp cumin
1 bay leaf
Freshly ground black pepper or pepper flakes
Chopped flat leaf parsley, cilantro or mint for garnish
Using one pot for the full process, boil lentils in salted water for five minutes. Then add the rice and boil the mixture for another five minutes without stirring. Drain the mixture and place it in a large bowl.
Reheat the same pot with 2 tbsp of oil. Once it is hot, add the onions and salt, stirring until they are caramelized, about 10 to 12 minutes.
Add the onions to the bowl with rice and lentils. Stir in the kefir or yogurt, lemon juice, water, cumin, pepper, bay leaf, plus additional salt to taste.
Heat the pot over medium heat. Once fully hot, add the remaining 2 tbsp of oil and pour in the rice-lentil mix. Wrap a clean kitchen towel over the inside of the pot lid, so it is closed firmly. (Gather the corners of the cloth, so it doesn’t reach the fire!) Place the lid on the pot, sealing it tightly.
Reduce the heat to very low. Cook the rice mixture undisturbed for 30 minutes. Check it maybe once, to ensure the rice is not burning. Remove the pot from the heat, and let it rest for 5 minutes, before eating.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
AYURVEDIC KICHADI (The Living Kitchen)
1 cup dried mung beans
1 Tbsp ghee or virgin coconut oil
2 bay leaves
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp coriander
½ tsp sea salt
½ cup diced yellow onion
2 tsp minced peeled ginger root
½ cup short-grain brown rice
2 carrots, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
2 celery stalks, chopped into 1-inch slices
½ cup of peeled butternut squash or sweet potato, cubed
4 cups water or vegetable broth
1 cup de-stemmed and chopped kale
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
Soak the mung beans in a bowl of room-temperature water for 8 hours before preparing. Use enough water so that the beans are covered. After they have soaked, drain and set aside.
Place a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat and add the ghee. Once the ghee is hot, stir in the bay leaves, turmeric, cumin seeds, coriander, and salt and toast for 1 to 2 minutes. You’ll know the spices are toasted when you start to smell them and some of them pop.
Add the onions and ginger, and sauté in the spices for 5 minutes.
Add the rice, carrots, celery, squash, and water or broth and stir to combine everything. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover the pot and simmer for 1 hour on low heat. Don’t stir the pot again until after an hour.
After 1 hour, stir in the kale and allow it to steam in the hot kichadi. It will cook quickly, within 2 minutes.
Serve the kichadi in a bowl and garnish with cilantro.
The kichadi can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for 4 to 5 months.
BAKED SPINACH-CAULIFLOWER FRITTATA
3 cups spinach leaves
1 onion, diced
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
1½ cups cauliflower crumbs.
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp salt
1 cup goat cheese, crumbled
1 tsp salt
½ tsp white pepper
¼ cup red pepper, finely diced
Line a 10 x 13-inch pan with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350°F
Cook the spinach in a large saucepan on low to medium heat until the leaves soften. Drain the spinach and set aside. (This step can be done ahead of time.)
In a heavy saucepan, add the onions to 2 tbsp of oil. Brown the onions on medium-low heat for 20 minutes. Remove them from the pan and set them aside to cool. (This step can also be done ahead of time.) Add the remaining oil and the cauliflower to the pan. Cook on medium heat, about 10 to 15 minutes, until the cauliflower softens and browns. Add the salt and cumin. Cook another 5 minutes and set aside to cool. Combine the cooled cauliflower and spinach.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add salt and pepper and the cooled onions. Add the cauliflower and spinach. Transfer the egg and vegetable mixture to the prepared baking pan. Add the cheese, by sprinkling the crumbs evenly throughout the vegetable and egg mixture. Sprinkle the red pepper over the mixture. Bake for half an hour or until the egg mixture solidifies.
Makes 6 to 8 servings. Serve hot, or at room temperature.